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July 15, 1929 – Dec. 19, 2012

Lawrence Dunbar Urban, a leader in the rental supply industry, died Wednesday in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital after a brief illness. He was 83.

A lifelong Buffalo resident, Mr. Urban was a graduate of Nichols School and Hobart College. He enlisted in the Air Force in 1951 and served four years, three of them in England. He took a factory job after returning home before becoming a wholesale hardware salesman.

In the early 1960s, after a stint as a Western Auto store manager, he opened his own business, United Rental, which became a Taylor Rental franchise and was later known as Urban Rental. For three decades, Mr. Urban’s life revolved around the tool and party supply rental industry.

He was a member of the American, New York State, Upstate and Western New York rental associations and was a charter member and officer in most of the organizations. In 1979, he received the American Rental Association Region 1 award for outstanding contributions to the rental industry.

After his retirement, Mr. Urban devoted his time to studying family history, and was active in the Buffalo and New England genealogical societies and the Erie County Historical Society. He also supported many local cultural and preservation organizations and was a 60-year member of the Saturn Club.

Mr. Urban’s interest in family history began as a way to learn more about Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, an inherited peripheral neuropathy which is a slowly progressive, non-life-threatening neuromuscular disorder. He was an active member of the CMT support group of Erie, Pa.

Mr. Urban is survived by his brother, Raymond G. Jr.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Jan. 11 at Trinity Episcopal Church, 371 Delaware Ave.